Ironically enough, as Ameriprise looks for a buyer for its fine-weakened Securities America unit, the firm recently settled a sticky FINRA complaint of its own.
FINRA banned former Ameriprise rep William Ray Collins Jr. from the industry back in September for allegedly forging his clients' names on money orders and used that cash to pay their transaction fees.
It's a relatively bizarre story in itself, since Collins reportedly didn't profit from the forgeries. Instead, he simply didn't disclose the fees his clients would pay on their variable annuity purchases, then signed their names on money orders in order to pay them.
He appears to have bought the money orders with his own money.
But it turns out that Ameriprise knew about the scheme as early as December 2005, but didn't investigate further until early 2008.
At that point, a new compliance system re-uncovered the faulty paperwork and Collins was let go.
Two years is a long time to go with that kind of bad behavior on the books and $50,000 seems like a small price to pay for what would seem to be an outright failure to supervise.